By Jacky Rooney, Head of Special Projects at Stile Education
Note-taking and studying are invaluable, lifelong and transferable skills that research shows are a strong predictor of student achievement. But, knowing how to study or take effective notes is something we often expect our students to already know or pick up as they move through school. Research demonstrates that these skills need to be explicitly taught and scaffolded, but how do we find the time in our ever-busy classrooms and an increasingly crowded curriculum?
That’s where Stile X comes in.
Stile X provides students with explicit instruction, scaffolding, support, and tools to develop these critical skills. Using a ‘gradual release of responsibility’ model, students are gradually introduced to note-taking and study strategies that become increasingly complex as they move from Year 7 to Year 10. By building a strong foundation in Years 7-10, your students will have a toolkit full of strategies to help them succeed in senior science and beyond.
By building a strong foundation in Years 7-10, your students will have a toolkit full of strategies to help them succeed in senior science and beyond.
Study skills encompass various tactics and strategies that allow students to effectively learn, organise and recall new information. We like to think of it as teaching students how to work smarter, not harder.
Developing these skills can:
- help students use their study time more effectively
- improve performance on tests and exams
- prepare students for success in their senior years of schooling
Study skills are embedded throughout Stile X in the form of Expert study tips. We’ve called them expert study tips because they’re all backed by cognitive research. Read our Science of Stile X blog series here.
The tips cover a range of revision techniques including planning for study, memorisation, self-regulation and focus techniques, time management, exam and test strategies, mindfulness, mindset and motivation development.
Do, Plan and Reflect
The Expert study tips in Stile X are divided into three categories of increasing complexity: Do, Plan and Reflect.
- 'Do' study tips are the most simple tips which students can implement straight away.
- 'Plan' study tips require students to think ahead to make the most of future study sessions.
- 'Reflect' study tips ask students to actively engage in metacognition and reflect on their mindsets, attitudes and practices towards study.
As students progress from Year 7 to 10, they complete more complex Plan and Reflect study tips, and fewer Do study tips.
Note-taking encourages students to summarise concepts in their own words. Good note-taking:
- encourages deep-learning of the content
- provides a hard-copy reference and summary of key information that can be referred back to when preparing or studying for a test
At least one lesson per unit requires students to complete their notes in a specific note-taking format.
- In Year 7, students use the simple outline note-taking method.
- In Year 8, they’re introduced to the two-column note-taking method.
- By Years 9 and 10, students use the Cornell method.
As you can see in the diagram below, as students progress from Year 7 to Year 10, the complexity of these note-taking methods increases as the scaffolding decreases.
With explicit instruction on how to use these note-taking methods and repeated exposure in every unit, students have multiple opportunities to learn and master these different strategies.
Scaffolding and explicit instruction in the Revision notes section of Stile X support students in creating their own summary notes. Each lesson in Stile X uses a range of different revision strategies such as:
Drawing or labelling diagrams
Students are taught how to use these strategies and tools effectively to help them learn, organise and retain key information.
Once students have completed the activities in the Revision Notes section, they'll have a concise summary of everything they need to know for each lesson.
Showing students how to study while they study
On top of expert study tips and note-taking, Stile X has a few other tricks to help your students revise.
- Glossaries: Stile X asks students to create their own definitions for keywords to help them master key vocabulary. The flashcards, quizzes and games on the dedicated Stile X phone app can help students fill in the blanks.
- Practice tests are the bread and butter of retrieval practice. Retrieval practice is a highly effective study technique that asks learners to recall knowledge from memory rather than rereading. Students can then check their answers on the Stile X app.
- Unit reflections are being introduced into every Stile X unit for 2023 and ask students to bring their knowledge together into a graphic organiser. In doing so, they connect ideas and boost recall.